Forest Releases Draft Environmental Assessment on Proposed Forest-wide Fuels Reduction Strategy

Release Date: Oct 22, 2021

Contact(s): Public Affairs Officer


WILLOWS, Calif., Oct. 22, 2021—Mendocino National Forest staff have released the draft environmental assessment (EA) on a proposed multi-phase, forest-wide prescribed fire and fuels management strategy. The strategy would use low intensity fires ignited under controlled conditions, along with manual and possibly mechanical removal methods to reduce hazardous fuels build-up and dense vegetation that could fuel more extreme wildfires in the future.  The long-term project would improve and retain ecosystem health and resilience across the Forest.

Forest officials issued a public notice today in the Chico Enterprise Record requesting feedback on the proposal. Project-specific comments are important to the Forest and its planning process. This period is intended to provide an opportunity to comment on the project prior to the development of the final EA and draft Decision Notice. Electronic comments are encouraged and should be submitted to: comments-pacificsouthwest-mendocino@usda.gov. Comments are due by Monday, Nov. 22.

The public is invited to attend one of two virtual public meetings Wednesday, Nov. 3, to learn more about the strategy and ask questions. Please note that no comments will be logged during these meetings. Both meetings will be identical in format:

  • 3 to 4 p.m. via Microsoft Teams at http://bit.ly/RxFireEA1. A call-in only option is also available at 202-650-0123 (conference ID: 351 593 616#).
  • 7 to 8 p.m. via Microsoft Teams at http://bit.ly/RxFireEA2. A call-in only option is also available at 202-650-0123 (conference ID: 571 905 778#).

The Mendocino Prescribed Fire and Fuels Management Strategy would allow for a landscape-scale environmental analysis for the explicit purpose of prescribed burning and fuels-reduction treatments across the entire forest, excluding designated wilderness areas. This would afford additional opportunities for the Mendocino National Forest to treat more acres in a timely fashion by taking advantage of geographic and seasonal conditions, while avoiding delays and inefficiencies associated with developing individualized, smaller-scale proposals.

Reducing the buildup of hazardous fuels supports forest officials’ goals of promoting healthier, more resilient forest stands.

“Taking a condition-based, landscape-scale approach to fuel reduction and fuels management will allow the forest to more quickly and effectively mitigate wildfire risks where it’s needed most and when conditions are most beneficial,” said Mendocino Forest Supervisor Ann Carlson.

The strategy includes an alternative proposal to use mechanical equipment to remove vegetation or thin dense stands of trees in areas where it may be unsafe or infeasible to use prescribed fire or hand-thinning. The draft EA is available online: https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=59722.



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